Wild Horse Education

Indian Lakes (Broken Arrow, Visit Report, Part 2)

On October 28 we published a “part 1” right after the visit at Broken Arrow (Indian Lakes Rd.) You can see the part 1 piece HERE. 

After collecting her thoughts, our WHE team member Colette Kaluza, offers the piece below. 

NOTE: Yes, we are aware of the trailer accident transporting wild horses from Roberts Mountain roundup to off-limits to the public Axtell corrals in Utah (About 5.5 hours from temporary corrals). We will update as more info is available. We know 7 wild horses died on scene.
We are the ONLY org taking BLM to court to gain enforceable welfare standards that include transport. We are working hard on that case this week.


Wild horses are rounded up and removed from their herd management areas and transported to corral facilities.  WHE has documented these horses the whole way.  Broken Arrow (Indian Lakes Rd., Fallon, NV) is a private and closed facility.  The October 27, 2023 tour is one of only two BLM-conducted tours a year.  WHE offers images of horses so the public can see the majestic animals rounded up from federal public lands, to facilitate adoptions, and to elucidate the “tour.”   The “tour” is observation of the horses and their living conditions at this moment, along with BLM’s (Bureau of Land Management) explanations, nothing more.

BLM’s most recent internal assessment and report in 2022 of Broken Arrow (Indian Lakes) found facility was non-compliant with major areas of its own animal welfare policy, referred to as CAWP (Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy).  WHE obtained and examined internal BLM data through FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests and published its report, which also showed major areas of non-compliance.  WHE report on Broken Arrow is specific to the wild horses rounded up from Pancake Complex in 2022.

BLM is not making available the pertinent data to determine current compliance or non-compliance.  BLM simply tells us it is complying with the animal welfare policy.  Are we to trust BLM without concrete information?  We must have transparency. 

BLM should create an online data portal that is freely available to the public.  Please sign on to demand this (click linked letter HERE).

WHE is making more FOIA requests for data on horses from recent gathers, but our FOIA requests are not being fulfilled because of its backlog.  This further supports why BLM should create an online data portal.

Below: Pancake mare rounded up in January 2022. Foals have been shipped out around the country. Many of them going through the Adoption Incentive Program that has proven to be a miserable failure protecting wild horses. from the slaughter pipeline. (Note: BLM touts the program as a success)

The tour was conducted by John Neill, Wild Horse and Burro Facility Operations Manager, and it had a professional feel to it.  Tour attendees felt comfortable in asking questions, got verbal answers, and were accommodated in requests to stop the truck. Tour included the sick pens.  But there was no map provided of the facility.  There was no written material on the area where the horses residing in the numbered pens (pen tag) were captured from (gather event), other than after asking being allowed to take a photo of Mr. Neill’s one-page handwritten notes (below). 

“Cheat Sheet” used by BLM during tour to ID pens. We thank him for letting us take a copy. But we really need attendees to be given a real inventory sheet.

The public can take a screen shot of the images of the horses offered in this article, include the numbered pen (pen tag), learn about BLM’s program procedures, and then contact John Neill ASAP!  (John Neill said for people to email him: jneill@blm.gov).  Mr. Neill explained, “This facility here, it is a contracted facility privately owned.  We don’t facilitate adoptions out of this facility just because it is on private property, but we would facilitate it out of the Palomino Valley Center facility and have the animal transported over there for pick up.”

Palomino Valley Center is an open and public facility in Sparks, NV, and facilitates adoptions.  There were tour attendees who wanted to adopt a horse.  BLM does not offer weekly access, at a minimum, to Broken Arrow to facilitate adoptions and allow for a layer of public oversight.  BLM is building more private and closed-off facilities.

Horses residing at this facility are from many HMAs or Complexes, including Pancake, Twin Peaks, Desatoya, and Calico, Antelope north (where Sunshine was from), and more.  

The images show there is no shade or windbreak for the horses.  “Additional provisions for shade and shelter (wind breaks) will be evaluated and determined by managers as appropriate for their region, the function of their facility and the condition of the animals under their care,” CAWP Standard II.M. Facility Design.

Mr. Neill explained, “A foal, age class it is still nursing on the mare.  Once they are weaned then we call them wean weans, but they are still foals.  So up until they are a year old, basically.  We call them a wean foal, you know, once they are weaned off of their moms.  Then they become yearlings, two year olds.”

There are different definitions of “foal” in BLM’s program.  BLM should define “foal” clearly throughout the program.

According to BLM, there are about 3,700 animals in residence.  When asking about foals, according to BLM, a couple hundred newborns are additional and entered as unmarked.  Are these animals slipping through cracks in the data?  Animal welfare policy requires “Facilities must identify individual WH&Bs in accordance with BLM policy.  This includes unmarked WH&Bs as well as those provided a freeze-mark,” CAWP Standard IV.D. Care of Wild Horse and Burros, Preparation Procedures.

Below: Mare foal pairs, Antelope (by pen number)

Mr. Neill explained, “The Antelope north gather, that occurred this last summer, they came here, and there was roughly 2,000 animals.  But BLM has been catching the Antelope Complex, it seems like, about every year.  So there are a lot of horses from Antelope that have been caught from years past.”

Statement: Mr. Neil explained, “So these two pens (SD and ND) are mixed-age stud horses that were captured this year from the Antelope North Complex.  So the process is, when the horses come in off the range, they are all segregated out when they are gathered, and get loaded on semi trucks and trailers, and come in here and get off-loaded.  And then our staff puts them in their pens.  And then we bring them through our facilities up here, through the chute process, and we do all the preparations of these animals, which consists of giving them all of their inoculations, which we vaccinate for all the major equine diseases.  They get de-worming medication.  We draw blood for Coggins test is what it is called, it is called equine infectious anemia.  They mandated tests for transport throughout the nation.  We determine their age by looking at their teeth.  And then we give each one an individual freeze-mark number.  That goes on the left side of their neck.  And that represents the tag.  They also get an identification tag, which is the last four digits of that freeze-mark.  And then all of that information gets recorded, and it gets put into our national wild horse and burro database. That way we can track these animals until they are adopted, and whatnot.  So after their initial inoculations, they will come back in 30 days and get their booster inoculations.  And then every six months they are on a vaccination schedule and a de-worming schedule.  And then, obviously, over time, since these animals no longer have to travel for food and water, their hooves don’t get worn down enough, so we have to trim feet.”

“It is a pretty big staff to take care of these animals with this size of operation.”

Reports:  BLM’s internal assessment report in 2022 showed Broken Arrow non-compliant with the most basic animal welfare standards explained above: Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) testing, freeze-mark application, vaccinations, deworming, and hoof trimming.  WHE’s examination of BLM internal data in 2022 showed the same non-compliance.

Mr. Neill, “Studs that were gathered off Antelope north gather, the gelding of those stud horses is going to commence here probably starting next week.  I think roughly there is about 1,300 male horses that need to be gelded, so that will go on for a few months.”   

Statement: Mr. Neill, “Most of the horses here are on a mixed ration, alfalfa, some grass hay, maybe some grain hay, too.  Since these horses just came off the range not too long ago, they didn’t come in, in that great of condition.  They have put on a lot of weight since they got here.”  And so I see mostly alfalfa here today.  So I am assuming that ration is going to transition, not quite all alfalfa, some grassy mix.  Otherwise, these horses can get too fat, and it’s not good for them, either.  But once they are in here for a while and they transition to their new feed, it’s basically a maintenance diet that they are on just to keep them at a good body condition.  Because when they leave here, the majority of these animals have to travel, you know, cross country, you know, a couple of hundred miles cross country to their next destination, unless they are adopted locally, or something like that.  So they have to be able to withstand that time on the truck and be able to look good on the receiving end to where they are going, an adoption event or something like that.”

Reports:  WHE reported each day of the Antelope Complex north roundup and contradict BLM’s assertion, “they didn’t come in, in that great of condition.” The “poor condition” on arrival was probably due to capture and an 8 hour transport in a heat wave… during foaling/breeding season? WHE has ongoing litigation directed at the abuse during capture and the need for enforceable welfare standards. 

WHE requested documentation of veterinarian visits. “Routine presence by an on-site or on-call veterinarian must be provided at each facility with records of those visits maintained at the facility,” CAWP Standard IV.A. Care of Wild horse and Burros, Veterinarian.

Reports:  BLM’s internal assessment report in 2022 listed Broken Arrow non-compliant in this major area.  WHE’s examination of BLM internal data in 2022 showed the same non-compliance.

BLM is currently in non-compliance.  The records are not at the facility, only with the veterinarian.  Since this basic requirement is still not remedied, even after BLM issued its report, then the public needs to take action. 

BLM should create an online data portal that is freely available to the public.  Please sign on to demand this (click linked letter HERE).

Pen 33, Calico (mare/foals)

In addition to our legal action at Blue Wing (that includes closed door facilities), WHE carries the only case in the nation to push for enforceable welfare standards.

We are also working hard to get briefs on file against a lawsuit filed by ranchers to force a removal of wild horses.

We have a matching donor that will cover the initial costs, but we will need your help to carry the costs of these cases as they move through the courts. All contributions up to $10,000. will be matched dollar-for-dollar from now through November. 


Categories: Wild Horse Education